image by Sergey Neamoscou
image by Sergey Neamoscou

Get Well Soon by Julie Halpern
Review by Jane

Get Well Soon follows the story of teenage girl Anna Bloom, whose parents place her in a mental hospital as a result of her persistent struggles with panic disorder and depression. From reading that brief description, one might expect a tragic and dramatic narrative of a girl’s constant battles with herself. And while the book contains plenty of drama and internal battles, it also maintains an important yet unlikely element- humor. Anna describes her daily life in the facility with a wry, relatable tone that serves as a stark contrast to the serious nature of her mental illness. At the beginning of her stay in the facility, she is miserable and wants desperately for her parents to allow her to come home. She discloses her annoyances, such as her inability to shave her legs and her lack of access to good music, with a sense of self-deprecating. However, as her stay continues, she develops close friendships with several of the other patients, and even a love interest.

Get Well Soon tells an inspiring story of recovery in the face of many of the challenges that teenage girls face. Julie Halpern creates a multidimensional look at mental illness through Anna, as she allows her to maintain her sense of humor throughout her difficulties. Get Well Soon takes readers on a bumpy ride through adolescence in the span of a three week stay in a mental hospital, through the turmoil of romance, anxiety, friendship, and self discovery that color the lives of many teenagers.

 

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Review by Paam

In this amazing novel, Vladimir Nabokov introduces us to an exciting labyrinth of passion, love, nostalgia, madness and obsession. The book makes you fall in love from the moment you read the first page all the way until the last word. When it was published in 1955, it was surrounded by taboo and controversy, and even in current times it remains very polemic to talk about the main theme that Nabokov explores in the book: an older man falling in love with a 12-year-old girl.

Lolita is not as creepy of a story as many people think; it takes the reader on a delightful trip into the most hidden places of the characters. The visual recourses are magnificent, and the prose is beautiful. The narrator mixes desires, dreams, memories, and pain, which further involves the reader in the story. The interaction between the narrator and the readers is so close, so close that you experience the desperation, pain, nostalgia and broken hopes that the characters live through. Nabokov manages to make readers sympathize with the character who is posed as the villain.

Nabokov gives us a few clues and some symbols that can help us to understand beyond the obvious facts. I invite all to read this book and not just take the literal journey that Dolores Haze takes with Humbert Humbert. I invite all to take the marvelous trip that Nabokov left us in those pages, in those perfectly drawn letters that contain more than words, but include poetry and an amazing story.

“Light of my life,
fire of my loins,
my sin, my soul.
“Lo-lee-ta.”
Vladimir Nabokov

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August 1, 2013